Home sweet home…but nobody’s there! Socceroos stars make A-League return after World Cup heroics in front of sparse crowd in Sydney
- Socceroos players returned to A-League action at the weekend
- Mathew Leckie, Marco Tillio and Jamie Maclaren were honoured on Saturday
- They were joined by fellow Socceroos star Andrew Redmayne
- A-League crowds remained sparse over the first three matches of the round
- Australia reached the World Cup Round of 16 for the first time since 2006
- Click here for all your latest international sports news at Daily Mail Australia
A host of Socceroos players made their A-League return to action following their World Cup heroics in front of a sparse crowd in Sydney on Saturday.
Mathew Leckie, Marco Tilio and Jamie Maclaren lined up for Melbourne City against a Sydney FC side containing Andrew Redmayne.
The quartet were last on the field at Allianz Stadium, receiving a warm welcome from the fans and a framed picture featuring all the A-League-based players who were part of Australia’s World Cup campaign in Qatar.
Andrew Redmayne (far left), Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie and Marco Tilio (far right) returned to A-League action on Saturday after playing at the World Cup
They were joined in Graham Arnold’s squad by the Central Coast Mariners trio of Garang Kuol, Jason Cummings and Danny Vukovic and Adelaide United star Craig Goodwin.
The crowd at Allianz Stadium, however, appeared to be rather sparse, a disappointing turnout after Socceroos fever swept across the country over the past two weeks.
Around 30,000 fans gathered to watch the action in Federation Square in Melbourne throughout the group stages.
A similar amount packed out AAMI Park in the Victorian capital to watch the game against Argentina last week, which saw the Socceroos eliminated in the knockout stages following a 2-1 loss.
The crowd at Allianz Stadium was sparse, on a weekend of poor attendances in the A-League
There were swathes of empty seats as the Socceroos stars made their first post-World Cup
Public screenings were also set up in Sydney and Brisbane for the Round of 16 clash, as Graham Arnold’s men looked to become the first Australia team to reach the quarter-finals.
The first two A-League games of the weekend drew even smaller crowds than the game at Allianz Park, with just over 4,000 fans attending the 1-1 draw between the Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United at Dolphins Stadium.
Less than 3,000 spectators, meanwhile, passed through the turnstiles at WIN Stadium for Wellington’s 1-1 draw against Western United.
And were handed a framed picture featuring all the eight A-League-based players who were part of Australia’s World Cup campaign in Qatar
The Socceroos crashed out of the World Cup last week after narrowly losing in the knockout stages against a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina.
Australia arrived in Qatar as ranked outsiders in Group D, but rebounded from a 4-1 drubbing against France in the opening game to reach the Round of 16 for the first time since 2006.
The Socceroos won two games at the World Cup for the first time in their history and kept two clean sheets, after going without conceding just once in their five previous appearances at the tournament combined.
And their performances in Qatar earned enormous public support back in Australia, with thousands of fans gathering to watch the action in Federation Square in Melbourne throughout the group stages.
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